The father of a recent graduate was so moved by his daughter’s MVTC experience that he wrote a thank you note in the form of an ode. In addition to celebrating her success, he highlights a few of the very special people who impacted his daughter during her days at MV. Please take a few minutes to read –

An Ode to Mountain Valley

Once upon a time, there was beautiful baby bear princess who had a momma and papa bear who loved her very, very much. The beautiful baby princess bear had long golden locks which shimmered in the sunshine and glimmered in the moonshine.

The princess lived in quaint little village surrounded by forests in which wild dogs roamed, along with deer, moose and other vermin. The baby princess bear loved all the creatures in the forests; some of her friends sometimes said that they thought that she could speak with those creatures.

Momma and papa bear always knew where the baby bear was because of her brilliantly shining locks. Her shining smile and brilliant locks often drew many villagers wherever she went. They would tell her stories, and she would smile and listen. On her walk home each night, she thought about their stories while looking for the glow from the lantern on her front doorway to guide her home. When she returned home each night, the momma and papa bear would throw their arms around her, make her something good to eat, and tuck her in for a good night sleep.

Sometimes the baby bear would get up in the middle of the night, and by light of her own lantern, wander the village, or write stories, filled with profound wisdoms of the world. After writing, she could usually go to sleep and dream. But, as time went by, her adventures in the village made her unexplainably, more and more tired. And each morning she awoke, her energy faded and her sparkle became dimmer.

Her parents became worried as they watched her beautiful golden locks lose its shimmer and started to change from bright shiny gold and yellow, to earthen browns and rocky grays. As her energy and light faded, her parents began to get so worried that they sought out the help of many different people in the village. These people suggested various potions for the little bear to drink, and salves that the parents should massage into the beautiful young princess before she went to sleep each night. But none of these efforts helped rejuvenate the princess’ hair or the light in her eyes, which now was also fading. Her parents then took her to witch doctors and wise women who tried to help the family rekindle the princess’ light. Lastly, they tried to rekindle her light with their own family lantern, but mysteriously, that glow from their flame was so weak – too weak to help cure the baby girl.

Finally, the baby bear’s hair and eyes became ashen and her parents were so full of fear and desperate to help their daughter that they sought out the help of a wise man who told them of a magical place tucked among the mountains and lay a day’s journey to the west. He assured them that in this place flowing with milk and honey, not only could the baby’s light be rekindled, but also the family’s light that was flickering could also be refueled. The family was skeptical that such a place actually existed. Even though they had traveled far and wide, seen beautiful places, and met many different charming people, they couldn’t believe that such an enchanted place existed.

But the momma and papa bear talked, and desperately gathered up the princess’ belongings, wrapped her up in special cloak, and set off to this secret place.

After almost a full day’s journey crossing rivers and streams, climbing over mountains, and driving through valleys, they finally cMVTC - Jay 3House - kid and blenderrested one final mountain; from the top of which they indeed gazed upon a lush green valley, with a gleaming house from which wafted delicious smells of strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookies, pizza and candy, roasted rabbit, suckling pig; and other vermin. Surrounding this gleaming house there were other outhouses which did not smell as good as the yummy house. The family knew they had finally arrived at enchanted kingdom of which the wise man had spoken. Though the baby bear was not certain if this was actually a safe place to be, the papa bear dashed right into the house without a second thought in search of the yummy smelling delectables. The mom and baby bear followed and indeed met a friendly, warm man with a beard and baker’s cap. He offered them fresh fruit and warm milk. The baby bear then met a broad friendly man, who wore magic boots, had a shiny head, and a chummily smile. He told them lots and lots of stories of the land in which they were, and then he told them more stories about the land. He listened to the family as they told them of their plight, and desperate wishes for their family. He was pensive, and then forthright, and then whisked them off in his carriage for a tour of the valley.

When they returned to one of the outhouses, they were introduced to a man who emerged from a small cave. This man greeted the family warmly with a quick hello. The family noticed a slight twinkle in his eye, but it was only for an instant and each of them was not certain MVTC - Bryan Randolph in outdoor groupthat they had actually seen the glint. They soon learned that this man from the cave was actually a wise guide, who would soon lead the baby girl into his cave in search of gems, super foods, and fuel for her lantern which was then almost out. This journey was one which the princess would have to embark on without her parents.

The family entrusted their precious jewel to the chummily man and curious cave man to nourish her body and soul from which her gleaming light had always shown. They left her in this strange and foreign land. Though the baby bear girl was somewhat frightened, she smiled as her parents drove away.

The first few days in this new land were difficult. Life there was very different from life at home. In fact, the next few weeks were difficult. And just as things seemed to be getting easier, they got more difficult. Each day she would meet the warm friendly man from the cave, and he would gradually guide her down through tunnels and rooms in the cave. He carried a bright lantern, and put some new fuel in her lantern which she had brought from home. Every day, they ventured further into the cave, and discovered new rare gems and interesting foods on the wall for them to eat. Even though each day, as they went into the cave, her lantern became brighter and brighter, and as they went deeper, each day the adventures were even scarier than then the day before. However, when they reemerged from the caverns each day, the girl felt stronger, more so than relieved, to be out of the catacombs.

Some days her parents joined her on her journey. Their guide was always next to them, pointing out sources of sustenance that kept nursing them all back to full strength. Each day the girl’s lantern became stronger and stronger. One day, without any warning, the family squeezed their bodies through a tight space between two rocks at the end of one of the tunnels. As they emerged from the tunnel, they were stunned as they gazed upon a room which was as big as a city. As oversized as they sometimes felt crawling through some of the tight pathways in the cave, they now felt so tiny as they marveled at ceiling thousands of feet above their heads, covered with jewels of infinite hues and teaming with life that they couldn’t have imagined existed so deep underground. The kind cave man let them know that he had to leave them now, and pointed out many of the different tunnels that connected to this room. Each tunnel had a different colored light coming from it.

Though they were somewhat afraid to leave the side of the cave man, as his lantern had always been the brightest of all the lanterns they carried, he guided their attention to the fact that all of their lanterns were now shining as brightly as his! Though the girl, especially, was very sad to see the man go, she was elated to be back in the arms of her parents; and all together they climbed down a path into the underground city to explore.

That day, when they emerged from the cave, they were remarkably refreshed. The air was light, cool and delicious. And the girl’s eyes were sparkling, and her golden locks were now sparking again. But, now her hair glimmered with many more colors than before. Her parents threw their arms around her, gathered her up with love and joy, bid the enchanted land adieu, and sped off in search of more adventures together.